I’ve pretty much given up on writing political articles, but sometimes I can’t avoid it.
That’s especially true when the sitting President does things that can end up affecting our ability to survive. Such is the case with President Biden’s gun control agenda, which he kicked into high gear with his Executive Orders and speech on April 8th.
It’s not surprising that President Biden went after guns this early in his presidency. After all, gun control was one of the most significant points he had in his campaign. Nor is it surprising that he’s going it alone on this, as getting any gun control bill through the Senate would be impossible. Not only would every Republican there stand against it, but Democrats from states with high gun ownership would as well. It is one of those issues that genuinely swing people’s votes.
Without the possibility of legislation passing to further the left’s gun control agenda, Biden was left with entering into the shadow realm of Executive Orders. Again, this is not surprising, considering just how many Executive Orders (EOs) he’s already signed. The trick, from his perspective, was finding things he could issue those EOs on, which he would stand a good chance of winning when brought before judicial review. Hence the EOs he signed on April 8th.
While people like to make fun of “Sleepy Joe,” he has some good handlers behind him. Not only were they able to craft the EOs in a way that kept Biden largely out of the line of fire, but they also knew how to present them in a way that would sell them to at least his base, even if the rest of us recognize the lies inherent in them. To do this, they used many of the same lies the left has used before.
The left’s push for gun control is mainly fear-driven. Their language is to speak to those who are ignorant of guns in such a way as to build fear. That’s why they use every mass shooting event to further the rhetoric on gun control. It’s also why they keep repeating some of the same mantras, like “You can go to a gun show and buy whatever you want without a background check,” even though that lie has been debunked countless times.
Sadly, many people haven’t heard that it has been debunked or aren’t willing to believe it has been debunked. I have relatives whom I’ve thought I had proven the fallacy of those sorts of statements too, who seemed convinced but yet returned to the same talking point in our following conversation.
A lot of this is pure ignorance. The left doesn’t try to sell their gun control agenda to people who know about guns but those ignorant. I know Democrats who support gun rights, even though they keep the rest of the left’s platform. But they are all gun owners who understand guns; most are shooters too. So they know the lies and ignore them.
Yet those lies still sell the left’s gun control agenda to tens of millions of people. Hollywood does their part to help in depicting guns as being much more potent than they are. The idea of guns that can knock a person back ten feet, leaving them lying dead on the ground, helps in the process of furthering fear of the guns themselves, rather than the people who wield them. Besides, those guns do the same thing, whether in the hands of the good guys or the bad. Where’s the difference?
So the President managed to sell his plan to the masses or the masses who follow him on the left-leaning mainstream media. But just what did he do, and how concerned should we be?
Before I get into the specific actions, he took by the Executive Order, keep in mind that this was primarily a symbolic gesture. The items picked were done so for several reasons, not the least of which they thought they could sell them. Unlike signing an EO making “high capacity” (actually normal capacity) magazines illegal, Biden went after what looked like low-hanging fruit.
Red Flag Laws
Perhaps the most dangerous of the EOs was the one about what is being referred to as “Red flag laws.” These are laws allowing law enforcement to take away a lawful gun owner’s firearms based on a complaint that the owner might (I repeat might) be dangerous.
The real danger in this is that it is bypassing the need for due process to take action. The red flag laws promulgated in some states allow law enforcement to confiscate those guns, based on a complaint, without any investigation. There is no recourse. Even if there were, it would involve expensive litigation. The gun owner would have to prove their innocence, which’s pretty much impossible to do while also costly to undertake.
I’m actually in favor of taking guns out of the hands of people who have been proven and adjudicated to be dangerous. Felons, those who have demonstrated mental disorders, and those guilty of domestic violence don’t need to have guns available. I’d even go so far as to extend that to the kinds of young men who fit the profile of past mass killers. But in every case, it should be required that the case against them is proven beyond a reasonable doubt before the court rules against them.
Yes, that viewpoint is dangerous, as it will leave guns in the hands of people who could be dangerous. But the alternative is even more dangerous, allowing people to use the law against those they hate. We’re talking Salem Witch Trial dangerous here; someone who hates someone else can make the accusation, and that’s all it takes for them to be deemed guilty.
There’s already federal law on the books that allows an estranged spouse to swear out a restraining order, stating that they are afraid of their ex. In that case, the gun owner is ordered by the court to surrender their guns and have the guns secured where they don’t have access. There’s no hearing on the matter and no way to get out of it. The only thing the gun owner has any control over is where his or her guns are secured. This doesn’t require any history of violence, just the statement of fear by the opposing side.
Red flag laws are essentially increasing this existing law, expanding it out to cover pretty much any circumstance that one can imagine, depending on how the law is worded. Regardless of the case, the gun owner’s rights are stripped away from them without due process of law.
Another way that red flag laws can be misused is for people who are afraid of guns to turn in their neighbors and co-workers. Is having a neighbor who is scared of guns sufficient cause to have your guns taken from you? It wasn’t in America I grew up in.
Biden’s Executive Order directs the Department of Justice to develop a model Red Flag law for Democrat legislators in the various states to use in passing their own state’s law. As such, it takes him out of the line of fire, politically speaking, while helping ensure that the most restrictive red flag laws possible are promulgated across the country.
I’m not at all surprised that Team Biden chose to go after ghost guns, even though I think it’s a waste of time. Ever since I understood what ghost guns are, I felt that some Democrat would go after them. I’m only surprised that it has taken this long.
But the idea of making it illegal for people to make their guns is illogical in that it is impossible to enforce. People have built improvised firearms out of plumbing pipes and other hardware for years. Someone even made a receiver for an AK-47 out of a shovel. Single-shot weapons are straightforward to make, yet they are rarely used in the commission of crimes.
The real target here is what is known as the 80% lower, a lower receiver for an AR-15, which is 80% machined. The gun builder then finishes out the job themselves, using a drill press and other tools to make the 80% lower usable for building a working AR-15. It’s a tedious job, although interesting and not all that hard to do. Building one is a great way of learning about the mechanics of guns. Similar 80% kits exist for other popular firearms, such as the 1911 pistol, the Glock series of handguns, and the AK-47.
If they outlaw 80% lowers, all manufacturers have to do is make a 70% lower. That’s all it takes to circumvent that law. Shoot, there are only four things required to complete an AR-15 0% lower; a vertical mill, a piece of aluminum, a dimensional drawing of the finished receiver, and a little knowledge. One doesn’t need to be an expert machinist to do it; I have enough know-how to do it myself.
Yet by using another lie, the President was able to sell this as another dangerous loophole in gun laws, stating that criminals could use this as a means of making illegal firearms. Yes, they could. But criminals are too lazy to do so. The only crime I’ve ever heard of involving a ghost gun is one where someone was making and selling them to criminals. He made three before going to jail for manufacturing guns without a license.
Now, ATF is required to come up with a plan to eliminate ghost guns, which the President said allowed any criminal to build a weapon in 20 to 30 minutes (another lie). He must be a much better machinist than I am; it took me much longer than that.
AR Pistol Variants
Another unsurprising target of Biden’s EOs is AR pistol variants. These are short-barreled weapons, built on the AR-15 receiver, but which have the shoulder stock replaced by a forearm grip, allowing them to be shot one-handed, making the rifle into a pistol.
This particular EO probably came from the recent shooting in Boulder, Colorado, where the shooter used such a pistol to commit his crime. That’s the only one I’ve heard of, but that’s enough for the left to go after them. It’s not unlike them going after bump stocks after the Las Vegas shooting.
When the original manufacturer of the AR pistol brace was presented to ATF for approval, it was presented by a one-armed veteran. It was easy for him to present it as a device to allow disabled people to effectively shoot the AR 5.56mm or .223 caliber cartridge through a pistol. His presentation was convincing, and the firearm was approved.
Today, there are several million of these in civilians’ hands, few of whom are likely to be handicapped. Biden is correct in that it has become a way for people to circumvent existing law, stating that rifles must have a barrel length of 18″ or more. Anything less is considered a “short-barreled rifle” requiring the same permit from ATF as a fully automatic machine gun.
Since ATF made the determination, it would be easy for them to redefine the AR pistol as a rifle, taking away that exemption. With the new director that the President has nominated to head up ATF being a strong anti-gun activist, this one will likely pass. Then it will be up to the courts to decide, as I’m sure the change will face a legal challenge.
The question for you and me is whether or not this affects us. I don’t personally own one of these, as I never wanted to shoot an AR-15 one-handed and don’t need a short-barreled AR-15. But there are several million of my fellow shooters who have them. Are they going to be forced to turn them in, or will they become instant felons when the new regulation takes effect? This is one we need to be watching.
There were some other Executive Actions which the President took, alongside those I’ve mentioned. His speech was filled with calls for action, asking Congress to push new gun control actions and renew some that no longer exist. Each of those was accompanied by its lies to justify the move.
While he was at it, Biden called upon a number of government agencies to focus more effort on dealing with gun violence as a mental-health crisis. In this, he was right. He specifically targeted 26 programs, run by five government agencies, seeking to beef up efforts in community violence intervention programs. While it is yet to be seen what form that assistance will take, there is a definite need to increase spotting and treating potential violent criminals before they pull the trigger.
Another potentially helpful action that Biden pushed is for the DOJ to issue an annual report on firearms trafficking. This is to be made available to lawmakers and policymakers to improve efforts on interdiction. I’d suggest they start by reviewing the records of the Fast and Furious scandal.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, Biden nominated David Chipman to head up ATF. His choice was probably due to Chimpan being a strong gun control activist, which is just what we don’t need heading up ATF. Worse than that, Chipman has been in the midst of almost every ATF scandal, going back to the Waco massacre, when 76 people were killed by government agents, including 25 children and two pregnant women.
The Bigger Danger
While all that is bad enough, probably the most significant danger of all was not the specific Executive Actions that Biden took against our Second Amendment rights, but in his attitude about those rights.
Even while claiming that he wasn’t doing so, Biden attacked our rights to keep and bear arms while calling on Congress to do even more. Apparently, he hasn’t bothered to read the Second Amendment but only looked at the leftist Cliff notes version. That’s about the only way he could ignore the phrase “shall not be infringed” as being part and parcel of our right to keep and bear arms.
The critical statement that Biden made in all this was when he said, “No amendment to the Constitution is absolute. You can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded movie theater and call it freedom of speech.” In those first seven words, he undermined our constitutionally guaranteed rights to an extreme that no previous president has. Connected with other actions by Democrat politicians, including his mentor, Barack Obama, this statement seems like a deliberate attack on our rights.
The same logic can be applied to anything listed in the Bill of Rights. Should it be used that way, it would give the government the ability to strip our rights, bit by bit, just like boiling a frog to death.
Of course, that’s been happening all my life; but we’re not reaching a point where it touches on fundamental rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Are we about to lose those too?